Britain and Algeria: Problems of Return

Authors George JOFFÉ
Britain is not an obvious country to which Algerians migrate, although the crisis of the Algerian civil war in the 1990s was to make it an alternative to continental Europe, especially France. From 45 in 1991, asylum applications peaked in 1995 at 1,865 persons and then ran at a consistently high level up to 2002. They are now in steep decline. Return of Algerian asylum-seekers has not followed a similar pattern, however, and many Algerians in Britain are illegally here. In fact, they have ranged between 85 (1998) and 220 (2005) a year, with no figures being available for 1999 and 2000. The British government admits that the efficacy of its return policy has been very limited, although domestic pressure has led to a much more concerted effort to return failed asylum seekers in recent years. However, the bare statistics must be seen against the growth of British security policies since 2001 and particularly since 2005. Fears of terrorism in Britain linked to the Algerian community here have led to a disproportionate arrest rate amongst Algerians, particularly in the ricin trial, the indefinite detention of Algerians on suspicion of involvement in terrorism without trial, agreements about mutual extradition, memoranda of understanding over the return of Algerians allegedly involved in terrorist activities and much closer cooperation between British and Algerian security services. This securitisation process has made the return of Algerians to Algeria much more problematic and has brought into question the British government’s commitment to its obligations within the European Union.
Year 2007

Taxonomy Associations

Migration processes
Migration consequences (for migrants, sending and receiving countries)
Migration governance
Cross-cutting topics in migration research
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